Now in my twelfth year of riding the in what is now called Bike MS, I have ridden with a number of teams over the years. Two of my mates from Team CSL were unable to ride this year, so my long-time biking partner Harold Anderson and I decided to ride with Team Christner this year. In years past, we’ve camped near their team and they seemed like a good group of people. And since Christner is a “green” architectural firm, this aligned well with our values. The team of 49 people is well behind the giant Team Kaldi, but is capable of making a respectable team contribution (over $30K so far) to the 2012 fundraising campaign.
We were once again greeted with heavy rains driving into Columbia late Friday afternoon. Harold arrived before me, and waited out the rain in his car. By the time I arrived, the rain had subsided somewhat, and at some point lighted to the point that we could set up a Harold’s new tent under a few sprinkles. There was a brief moment when it looked like we were missing a key hub that held all the poles together, which would have meant scrambling for a hotel in an already overcrowded city. Luckily the missing part surfaced and we erected a tent tall enough for a big man to stand up straight!
Team Christner hosted a catered spread from Bandana’s Barbeque Friday night in the main dining hall at the Boone’s County fairground. We’d only ridden one ride with the team since we just joined in late August, so it was a nice chance to get to know some of the other team members. It was also a pleasure knowing that several of the anchors on the team were home-brewers, so I appreciated the bevy of beers that were provided at dinner and later in the corporate tent.
Saturday morning was chilly and foggy, and as the sun rose we could see the effect of the rains from the previous day. The sun looked like the moon from behind the thick haze. We rode against strong (15 mph) headwinds coming from the northwest all morning, which made the ride both cool and somewhat arduous. However, after the fourth rest stop, the day was warming up, and as we headed back south the winds became helpful tailwinds that enabled bikers to ride 20-25 mph without a tremendous amount of effort.
I ingested some magic “5-hour Energy” dietary supplement after lunch that gave me at least a psychological if not physical boost, and when the time came to choose either the 75-mile or 100-mile loop, I felt – for the first time ever – that I was up for doing the “century.” I rode around in circles waiting for Harold to either join me or encourage me, but he was not enjoying the same high that I was, so we stuck together and did our traditional 75 on Day 1.
The VIP Tent was a bit of a disappointment this year, without the traditional appetizers and selection of beers that they have had in the past. (They only had the Michelob Ultra class of fruity beers that Augy Busch would have fired someone for suggesting.) We instead enjoyed the company of our teammates in the corporate tent, and I indulged in a 10-minute massage to reward myself for a good ride.
The sunrise Sunday morning was a welcome harbinger of what a great day it would be. Since I had to be back in St. Louis for an improv comedy show and Harold was driving on to KU to celebrate his son’s birthday, we elected to ride the shorter 40-mile loop and were back to the finish line by 11:30. After treating ourselves to a warm lunch, we headed our separate ways and called it a great weekend!
Thanks to all of you who have already contributed to my fundraising campaign. My goal is to raise $2,000 again this year, so I appreciate the widespread support I have received over the years. If you haven’t made your donation yet, you can easily give online by going to http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/sro2012. Thank you for your continued support!